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Ship breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship breaker (edition 2010)

by Paolo Bacigalupi

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2,4141952,573 (3.87)187
Title:Ship breaker
Authors:Paolo Bacigalupi
Info:New York : Little, Brown, 2010.
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

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    4leschats: Both stories deal with environmental issues and teen survival
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    Rootless by Chris Howard (wifilibrarian)
    wifilibrarian: Rootless shares several themes and settings with Ship Breaker. Both stories have teen male protagonists with family issues, and both stories are set in future worlds where the environment has collapsed due to human interference. Both include the setting of a future dystopian/post-apocalyptic New Orleans.… (more)
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» See also 187 mentions

English (192)  Hungarian (1)  French (1)  All (194)
Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
An interesting setting, premise and characters turns in to a disappointing chase novel for the final l00 pages. ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
I liked the dystopian nature of the book but as I read I was hoping for some prequel information. That is, how did New Orleans get into such a state. Also I wondered about the half men, (heynea, dog and human. The setting seemed more past then future but the reader is thrust forward with the metion of very modern day things, LED lights. I thought the comment about how everybody used to have cars, and those paths used to be roads. Nita was incredulous and wondered where all the fuel came from. Nailer, I believe it was, said everywhere; they even dug it out of the Gulf. Is the author giving us a cryptic warning about our oil additction?
Personally, I found the author a little wordy. I skimmed to get to the meat of the story, especially when they were searching for Nita.

summary:In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota--and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life.…
From Imaginary Reads blogspot. ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
Gave up after 50 pages. The characters, setting, and story did not appeal to me.
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
About five years ago I read the author’s The Windup Girl and was blown away by his depiction of a near future dystopian society. I recently followed up with The Water Knife and was not a big fan. After reading this work, I’m about to come to the conclusion that the author is a one-trick pony.

As with The Windup Girl and The Water Knife, action takes place in a near future dystopia, marked by extreme climate change. Coastal areas are flooded, many regions are without water, others suffer through frequent category 6 hurricanes (city killers). All three of the Bacigalupi works could have taken place in different regions of the same ravaged world. And while I found The Windup Girl to be extremely thought provoking and original, both The Water Knife and Ship Breaker read VERY simple and derivative.

I must have missed the reviews that labeled this a YA title, but I can certainly believe it, given its simplicity. Unlike many of the better written YA works, however, this book did not translate well to a more mature audience. In fact, I found it very similar in style to The Water Knife, except for the graphic sexual content contained in the latter.

It is difficult for me to believe that the author who wrote The Windup Girl was responsible for The Water Knife and Ship Breaker. I strongly doubt I will follow up with the second work in this series, The Drowned Cities. ( )
  santhony | Oct 5, 2016 |
In a distant, dystopian future, Nailer works as a ship breaker. He navigates the treacherous confines of beached ships, crawling through the rusted ductwork, searching for anything he can scavenge. It's difficult and dangerous, and Nailer risks his life every day to scrape together a living, if living in a tin shack and teetering on the brink of starvation can be considered a living.

Then Nailer meets a rich girl, and the book turns into a YA novel. *Sigh* I've read 2 of Bacigalupi's novels, The Windup Girl and The Water Knife, and I gave both of them top marks. They were complex, intricate, and offered an astounding amount of depth. Ship Breaker is certainly dumbed down, with a fairly stereotypical plot. Boy and girl meet, boy and girl are from different worlds, boy and girl have to work together, boy and girl kiss around pages 200-250 or so. Y'know, like every YA novel ever.

It's fine though, it's supposed to be a YA novel, and I can't criticize it for being what it is, just because I don't like the YA tropes. As far as YA novels go, it certainly presents a fascinating future, though it isn't explored as much, since the relationship takes center stage most of the time. I liked the underlying theme of trustworthiness and loyalty, though. Even though it's all spelled out for the reader, the author really stresses the importance of trust in the book, which is nicer than the typical teen angst that makes up most YA novels I've read.

Ultimately, I enjoyed Ship Breaker, despite it's predictable and trope-ridden plot. I may even read the next book in the series, which is a testament to Bacigalupi's world building, as that's the only reason I'm interested in reading more. Recommended if you like the genre. ( )
  Ape | Sep 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
Bacigalupi is a highly acclaimed adult sci-fi writer, and Ship Breaker won last year's prestigious Printz award for young-adult fiction in the US. It's a taut, disciplined novel, moving with tremendous coiled energy and urgency. I found it a tad colourless in places, but Nailer is a fine hero, complicated and questioning, always wondering whether he's doomed to inherit his father's failings or whether he can make his own destiny.

Which is, of course, the essential question of every dystopia. And basically the essential question of every teenager, too. Why do teenagers like dystopias? Simple. They're looking for proof that there's a way to survive the one in which they're already living.

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paolo Bacigalupiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Caplan, DavidDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horváth, NorbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swaab, NeilCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warner, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Nailer clambered through a service duct, tugging at copper wire and yanking it free.
The blood bond was nothing. It was the people that mattered. If they covered your back, and you covered theirs, then maybe that was worth calling family. Everything else was just so much smoke and lies. (p. 274)
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Book description
Even at night, the wrecks glowed with work. The torch lights flickered, bobbing and moving. Sledge noise rang across the water. Comforting sounds of work and activity, the air tanged with the coal reek of smelters and the salt fresh breeze coming off the water. It was beautiful.

In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota — and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life — strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life...

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.


Set initially in a future shanty town in America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being disassembled for parts by a ragtag group of workers, we meet Nailer, a teenage boy working the light crew, searching for copper wiring to make quota and live another day. The harsh realities of this life, from his abusive father to his hand-to-mouth existence, echo the worst poverty in the present-day third world.

When an accident leads Nailer to discover an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, and the lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl, Nailer finds himself at a crossroads. Should he strip the ship and live a life of relative wealth, or rescue the girl, Nita, at great risk to himself and hope she'll lead him to a better life. This is a novel that illuminates a world where oil has been replaced by necessity, and where the gap between the haves and have-nots is now an abyss. Yet amidst the shadows of degradation, hope lies ahead.

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In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.… (more)

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